The 14th StreetY has a beautiful black box style theater on the 2nd floor, just above our busy fitness center. There are a million things we love about having a theater in our community center, but here are our top 10!
1. It’s GREEN! Our Theater used to have a regular proscenium stage that limited the kind of productions it was able to present. A few years ago under the direction of LABA artist fellow David Tirosh, we were able to break down all of that wood and reuse it to build the theater that we currently have. Additionally, we made a storage facility for extra wood where productions can store and reuse wood after a the run of the show.
2. It has a sprung floor! The wood from the proscenium stage was used to create a floor perfect for dancers, actors, and theater pieces of all kinds. In fact, our ZUMBA class could be found testing out the spring during their workout last night.
3. It has retractable seating! Just a month ago, our theater had wooden risers with chairs to create seating in the space. It was serviceable, but didn’t lend itself to as much creativity as it should. Now, the seating is a retractable riser seating with comfortable, theater type chairs. And if a production wants to retract the seating right into the wall and use chairs in the round, that’s okay too!
4. No theater ghosts! As far as we know. Most theaters are famously haunted but we haven’t discovered one yet.
5. The theater roof will soon be a GREEN ROOF! That’s right. Our green theater will soon have a green roof. From the playroof, our children will be able to see the theater’s greenery on the roof as a teaching tool. Plus, it just looks great.
6. We can rent to amazing theater companies and produce our own! Our LABA artists (The National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture) has produced such great productions as the sold out “Hannah and the Moonlit Dress”. Soon to be making a return to our stage by popular demand.
7. It’s a great space for use by our programs! Preschool has held concerts starring ShirLaLa, Afterschool uses it for their end of year presentations, and we recently screened a fabulous movie to raise funds for a new basketball gym floor, Doin’ it in the Park.
8. 40 years ago, it was a sun deck! Few people know this, but back in the days when this building was known as The Emmanuel Midtown Y the theater was actually a sun deck that people could use after a swim. Though this was cool, it could only be used on warm sunny days. Now we have our playroof for outdoor fun, and a Theater that can be used year round!
9. We’ll be producing an original OPERA on September 28th and 29th: 3WEEKS. The Opera was created our of a relationship between 2 of our LABA Fellows.
10. Theater creates and inspires! As a community center in the heart of the East Village, it’s a fine thing to have a space that can house and support artists and the work they do. Our wonderful theater sits in a community that it can serve in so many different ways.